Early childhood education

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One in three Australian children do not attend early education for the hours needed to make a difference. from www.shutterstock.com

Government must boost attendance rates in early education

The children most likely to benefit from quality early education are the most likely to miss out. Here are five key changes the government needs to make to address this.
Jazz in the classroom not only teaches children to play instruments; they may also learn a range of essential life skills. Reuters/Carlos Jasso

From the club to the classroom: all that jazz is good for the kids

Many middle-class parents buy classical CDs because it is supposed to make their kids clever. But a jazz-loving academic has started using her favourite genre in early childhood learning.
The shadow minister for early education, Kate Ellis, said child care costs had undergone a ‘massive increase’ since the last federal election. AAP/Mick Tsikas

FactCheck: has there been a massive increase in child care costs under the Coalition government?

Labor's shadow minister for early education, Kate Ellis, said there has been a massive increase in child care costs under the Coalition government. Is that an accurate reflection of the data?
Preschool attendance has been shown to improve literacy and numeracy for Indigenous children. AAP/Neda Vanovac

Early childhood education is key to closing the gaps

The Closing the Gap report shows a mix of successes and failures, but early childhood education holds the key to significant progress.
What children learn in their first 2000 days of life is the most vital, so early learning shouldn’t be dismissed as babysitting. Lukas Coch/AAP

What a difference a portfolio makes: early learning is not babysitting

The reorganisation of federal ministerial portfolios this week moved early childhood education and care from social services to education. This is a good thing.
A combination of education and care makes Sweden’s early childhood education so much better than Australia’s. Ebba Dahlqvist

Why Swedish early learning is so much better than Australia’s

Most people have heard that Finland leads the world in education, but fewer have heard that Finland’s neighbour, Sweden, is the international leader in early childhood education and care.
The Productivity Commission’s report on childcare will help inform the Abbott government’s soon-to-be-unveiled ‘families package’. AAP/Paul Miller

Productivity Commission childcare report shows blind faith in market

Many of the Productivity Commission's proposals derive from assumptions that the funding of these services should ensure minimal interference, with a classic, market-based model for meeting "demand".
Developing the creativity habit requires more than just good intentions. Navy Hale Keiki School/Flickr

Fighting the slump: a strategic approach to developing creativity

A long-term trend of declining creativity test scores has renewed interest in mechanisms to stimulate and foster the development of creativity – at home, in schools, universities and workplaces. At the…
Research shows children in early learning benefit from having a stable relationship with one teacher, but with 180 qualified early learning teachers leaving every week, that can be difficult to maintain. Shutterstock

Will the Productivity Commission deliver for the childcare sector?

Last year in an open letter to the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, early childhood employers and peak bodies joined forces to ask for a commitment to early learning. They warned the political…
Giving today’s kids a flying start with early education will be crucial to helping them fill the gap left behind by retiring Baby Boomers. Kevin Conor Keller/Flickr

Baby Boomers, be nice to your grandkids: they may save Australia

The problem with Australia’s population ageing is not that there are too many older people – it’s that there are not enough young people to support them. That presents many challenges to Australia’s continued…
The Productivity Commission report reflect the limits set by Tony Abbott when he announced terms of reference focused on economic benefit. AAP/Alan Porritt

PC logic: let the market solve childcare market failure

The Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning shows the serious limitations of market economics for analysing social policy. The report’s 900-plus pages offer a collection…
The Productivity Commission contains many positive measures for Early Childhood Learning, but are they implementable? AAP

Good results for early learning, but the devil is in the detail

The recommendations of the Productivity Commission into Childcare and Early Learning appear to be a win for early childhood learning. However, as with many reports such as this, the devil is in the detail…
School, or more play? Kindergarden kids by Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Hard Evidence: at what age are children ready for school?

When are children “ready” for school? There is much debate about when the transition between play-based pre-school and the start of “formal” schooling should begin. The trend in the UK primary school curriculum…
Childcare is expensive, but it’s one of the best investments you can make. Flickr/Howard county Library

Childcare may be expensive, but it’s worth it in the long run

With the Productivity Commission Report into Early Learning and Childcare due this month and ABS data on the subject released last week, the cost of childcare is in the spotlight again. However, highlighting…
Teaching parents how to parent has many positive outcomes, but it doesn’t mean people are going to like it. Flickr/Russ Robinson

Teaching parents how to parent: essential interventions or government meddling?

The idea of teaching parents how to parent makes many of us uncomfortable. However, educating parents is a positive step towards a society that provides all children with the best possible start in life…

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